Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hike 2011.084 -- Nature Station and Honker Lake

Hiked Saturday, November 19. Yes, here, again.

Yesterday, I was back at the Nature Station. But, rather than being here to be entertained, I was part of the entertainment. More properly, I was part of the contingent of Western Kentucky Amateur Astronomers who volunteered 6 hours of their weekend (plus, for many, 90 minutes or more of driving time and many hours preparing props) to support the Nature Station's educational efforts. Every year, the Nature Station coordinates with local Cub Scout dens to put together a program that lets scouts complete their requirements for a pin or belt loop. This year, it was the Astronomy Pin.

I've done this sort of outreach once before, as one of several speakers and telescope demonstrators for a group of scouts in San Marino, last year. Unfortunately, we got mostly clouded out on that event.

Today was a daytime event, although, if it had been at night, we would also have been clouded out. Also, many of the scouts are way too young to be able to maintain their attention for more than about ten seconds. I think the idea is more that they learn a bit now, and they may later choose to learn on their own, later. So we and the LBL staff and volunteers did our best, with displays, activities, and demonstrations.

Can't say enough about what a great job this club does with their outreach. During the summer, they help staff two telescope outreach events a month at LBL. They also do special Astronomy Day and similar special events. It's all done on a volunteer basis--they're just people who like sharing their hobby and each other's company.

Took about a dozen pictures at the event, though there's always some question about posting pictures of minors on the net. I tried reducing the size of the picture with the scouts to the point where they are no longer identifiable, but still big enough to provide a feeling for what the event was like.

I also have a shot of some squirrels, taking advantage of the bird feeder at the Nature Station to bulk up for the winter.

After the outreach event, the club had a meeting scheduled for 5pm. That was just enough (actually, not quite, but I didn't know it at the time) time to squeeze in a quick hike around Honker Lake (4.2 miles) before driving down from the Nature Station to the Golden Pond Planetarium.

Lots of rain and wind the past few days, and I noticed several broken branches and downed tree trunks that weren't there a week or so ago. Pretty much all the deciduous trees are now bare. Many of the waterfowl have moved further south for the winter, I think.

I didn't learn or see anything really ground breaking on this hike. It was just another chance to try to stay on pace for a second year of 100+ hikes.

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